At the beginning of the summer I took many pictures of dandelions. Their soft round translucence stayed in my heart and slowly transformed into a persistent wondering of how to make an origami dandelion*.
I thought about the origami dandelion constantly. While riding my bike one afternoon, I remembered how Beth Johnson made a sheep from a tessellation. Perhaps I could make an origami dandelion from a tessellation as well.
For two solid days I neglected everything in my life and attempted several dandelions based on Beth’s sheep. It worked to a degree, and I could get the paper to curve. But ultimately it was a failure, the model didn’t quite work out as the basis for a dandelion.
- What I had learned by now: A humble idea might grow into an obsession.
After a few days of folding and exploring different tessellation options I discovered a ball made by Yuri Shumanov. Yuri’s ball was made by collapsing a grid of staggered waterbomb bases from a rectangle. A simple concept and perfect for my flower, I thought. Now I only had to make this model very small using translucent paper. I had a vision of success!
To do this, I set out by preparing a rectangle measuring 8 x 4 inches (20 x 10 cm) of glassine paper and began to fold first by scoring multiple creases on the paper.
I worked for hours on end, ruining more than a few pieces of paper because a crease was missed, or put in the wrong place. Failure again, I felt like crying!
- What I had learned by now: A need to focus on the present moment; to release all anxiety and sense of urgency. Origami is the power of here, and now.
I started to fold one last piece of paper after breakfast on a hot, humid, morning. I worked in complete silence away from duty, noise, or distraction. Finally, I had made all the needed folds.
Now I had to collapse the sheet into a ball!
It was a struggle made more difficult by paper that was limp from high humidity. The collapsing just wasn’t happening. From moment to moment I had to exercise restraint, resisting a persistent urge to crumple the paper into a boulder and hurl it into the furthest corner of my studio.
Ha! Maybe that was the solution! After all, a nice, round origami boulder could pass for a dandelion, right?
- What I had learned by now: It’s better not to collapse a miniature tessellation on a hot and humid day.
At this point my heart was aching equally with a desire to achieve a goal, and the frustration of much failure. I checked the weather report for the following day: Sunny… Cool… Dry. Good!
Twenty four hours would give me just enough time to take care of other obligations.
The next day was weather perfect, as announced. A good portion of that morning was spent forming the tessellated ball and the balance of the day devoted to completing other pieces the dandelion needed. These last pieces were not nearly the challenge the main body of the dandelion was, but they still took time.
Was I satisfied? Not completely, but I had before me the dandelion I’d imagined. I could call it a success!
- What I learned with the dandelion experiment: There is a fine line between failure and success. The opposite of success is not failure, it’s giving up!
* Here is the video showing the steps to make this origami dandelion. Other videos are referenced, and it will take time and focus to put it all together. If you persevere, I’m sure you can make an origami dandelion too!
What are the biggest challenges that you have had in an attempt to interpret or design an origami model? Share your an experience with us here in the comments section.